Government shutdown and your health plan

The possibility of a Dec. 7 partial government shutdown is another good reason feds — especially retired government workers — should pick their 2019 health plan ASAP. The health insurance open season ends at close-of-business Dec. 10, so what if there is nobody around to do business?

Waiting until the last minute, especially to finalize what could be the most important financial decision you’ll ever make, begs the question “what could possibly go wrong?” You don’t want to let inertia put you and your family at possible risk of being in the wrong plan, especially if you are hit with major medical bills in 2019.

Experts say the catastrophic coverage of a plan — the maximum out-of-pocket-cost-to-you — should be your number one consideration. Do you know the limits in your current plan? Is there a much better deal available?

There is still plenty of time to shop, compare and in many cases save lots of money next year in both premiums and out-of-pocket costs to you.

Walton Francis, editor of Consumers Checkbook Guide to Federal Health Plans, said half of the people in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program are in the wrong plan. Meaning they could get equal or even better coverage while saving $1,000 to $2,000 next year.

This year many federal workers are shopping at the office thanks to their agency which has purchased the online version of Checkbook for their use. But that doesn’t help most retirees. And because most retirees stay in the same plan year after year, after year, many of them are paying too much in premiums. There are many options that provide equal coverage, at lower premium. But you need to shop around.

Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. Walt Francis will be my live guest on Your Turn. He’ll talk about best buys and explain why many more people need to switch plans.

Questions for Walt can be sent before airtime to

Happy hunting!

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The joker playing card was invented in the U.S. during the Civil War as a trump card for the game “Euchre,” which was popularized by the Pennsylvania Dutch. The name “joker” is believed to come from the terms “Juker” or “Juckerspiel,” which is the original German spelling of Euchre.

Source: Wikipedia

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